Friday, April 23, 2010

Time Management

I attended a Time Management presentation by  Professor John Cable from the University of Maryland. It was a talk sponsored by the local chapter of Project Management Institute or PMI.
Habit 3 - Time Management Matrix or Quadrants (English Text) - Wall Clock from THE 7 HABITS - CLOCK COLLECTION by WatchBuddy Timepieces (Black Frame)Since we are all good time managers, none of us really needed to be there, right? We can always use extra help in different areas of our lives. Self improvement is why I love reading personal finance blogs - not because I love money so much - but because personal finance is just another facet of self improvement.

Maybe it is because I was just talking about that realization with my wife just last night but throughout the presentation today I kept finding parallels from his talk on time management that applied directly to personal finance.

First, and foremost, You must develop your *own* personal time management system.
In order to be successful you need to be able to think in multiple time dimensions. Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, Years. And you must allocate your priorities to the fixed amount of time that we have. Because when today is gone, it is gone.

Prof. Cable then presented the quadrant of how our time can be categorized. Important and Not, Urgent and Not, and pointed out how much of our time is, unfortunately, found in the Not Important and Not Urgent quadrant. It would be unhealthy if it was always in its opposite - we need to strike a balance in our lives. Haven't we heard that before!

Write it down, he urged us. Keep a record of your time. (This is just like the advice to track every penny in your finances.) Because if you do not know where it is going - you are incapable of improving your situation.

To Do List Classic Pad (Blue) (9"H x 6"W x 0.375"D)Make a to do list for tomorrow at the end of today. This will give your brain a chance to work on the issues while you sleep. Useful, this is, because your brain doesn't stop working at night.

Take advantage of downtime. Keep a notepad with you. Authors do this. They utilize the five minutes standing in line to capture a thought.

Do the important things first. Or match it to your energy curve. (Pay your mortgage before eating out.)

Keep at it! It takes a continuous effort.

High performance comes from balancing stress and recovery. (Going on vacation is fine. Replensish your account before you go again though!)

Cater to your strengths. (Tim Ferriss stated this, too.) Part of the 80/20 or Pareto principle.

Awareness, New Knowledge, Application of that new knowledge. - otherwise, training is lost and useless.( tells the story, relates personally, and then challenges her readers. It is the personal challenge which draws the readers in and makes them love her posts.)

Personal Thoughts
I guess the most interesting thing about this whole presentation was how my mind was open and instead of just focusing on what he had to say, I was connecting the dots from this talk to other bits of information that I have learned recently. It was an incredibly more satisfying experience. Not only was I listening to the tips on how to better manage my time, I was analyzing his presentation methods and trying to relate the major points to how they apply to personal finance, all at the same time.

Even now, while I write this, I feel like I am in the flow, and I really do not want to interrupt that. When you find yourself in the flow, it is important to brush aside distractions and focus. Doing so will produce greater results and greater satisfaction. 

When I returned from the presentation, I immediately had a lot of little tasks to do.  I set them all up and quickly accomplished each one in the order that I needed. I used tabbed browsing to accomplish this. Rather than try to multi-task, I opened links in a new tab and continued working in the tab I was on and didn't leave until I was finished. I signed each of my timecards, updated my calendars, printed a calendar for my wall, and some other things, all before getting distracted by anything. I let each of the tabs remember my task order for me.

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